"Dude, could this forest could be any drearier?" Hitoshi Armesha complained as he trudged through the bleak mass of trees with his assassin partner, Malikai Arakawa, and another older geezer that they'd been paired up for the day. That was often the case, Orochimaru wanted a more experienced elder to guide them, though Hitoshi joked it was truly only to baby-sit them and insure they kept out of trouble and didn't mess up. "Honestly, this place could be the world of the dead at night!" he continued, gesturing exaggeratedly. "You know, I bet it is! I bet millions of spirits pass through here on their way to the afterlife and claim travelers in their path if they cross them!" Hitoshi wailed like a lost, demented ghost, attempting to frighten his partner, Malikai. Malikai's face sagged but in annoyance and anger, not fear. He didn't give Hitoshi the honor of a glance. Hitoshi scoffed, pretending to be terribly hurt. Malikai had the humor of a dead man; he could be so frustrating sometimes compared to his own easily aroused slap-stick comicality. Malikai was much like all the other assassins Hitoshi worked with but less apt to attempt to kill him out of short-temper. Hitoshi had been almost assassinated by his last 2 partners because they hated his light-hearted, goofy nature, those were dark times. But Malikai, though he had scads of darkness inside him, somehow attracted Hitoshi. Maybe that was because he and Malikai were close in age, or perhaps more then that. Anyways, he had attached himself to Malikai, and found the first real friend he'd ever had, odd in a place like this. He'd plunged into this dark life for savage revenge; he never imagined he'd locate a friend in it all. Well, Dad had once said light could reach even in the blackest of worlds. "So, what was this mission, again?" Hitoshi questioned, placing his hands behind his head as he journeyed alongside Malikai, their third party just ahead. The older gentleman answered without glancing back. "Lord Orochimaru commanded us to seek out an important..."